The NC State women’s soccer team fell 3-0 to the undefeated BYU Cougars in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship on Saturday night but the scoreline was not an accurate representation of the match.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the 12th minute and made it 2-0 in the 34th minute as the Pack started the game very slowly. Failing to register a shot on target in the first half, the Wolfpack looked likely to be on the receiving end of a blowout.
That eventually looked even more likely in the 49th minute when Cameron Tucker grabbed her second goal of the game to put BYU up 3-0. Down by three early in the second half, most teams would fold and simply accept defeat. The Wolfpack isn’t most teams.
From the moment the third goal hit the back of the net the Wolfpack woke up. Less than a minute after the goal senior midfielder Ricci Walkling went down to the other end and unleashed a rocket of a shot that BYU keeper Sabrina Davis forced onto the bar.
The Wolfpack poured on the shots from there but Davis was equal to each of them. Senior midfielder Tziarra King had multiple brilliant efforts stopped by the keeper. Including Walkling’s shot off the bar, the Wolfpack put seven shots on target in the second half and a majority of them were high-quality chances, but Davis denied each and every one of them.
Despite allowing three goals, junior keeper Jessica Berlin played well. Berlin made five saves including a few brilliant reactionary saves on point-blank efforts.
A combination of a poor first half and a brilliant performance from Davis doomed the Wolfpack and for the second year in a row, the Wolfpack bows out of the NCAA Championship in the round of 16.